We all turned away when Jeff Van Gundy made the offhanded comments about Tracy McGrady’s reported desire to play professional baseball, but the 16-year NBA veteran is one step closer to making his baseball dream a reality.
On Monday, the independent Sugar Land Skeeters invited the wannabe pitcher to join them when they begin Spring Training April 14.
“This is not a gimmick,” McGrady recently said. “I do know the sport. I feel I have the talent.”
“We’re intrigued by the progress Tracy has made thus far and really commend him for putting in the work,” Skeeters skipper Gary Gaetti said via a team release. “He will report to Spring Training with the other players and officially have his opportunity to earn a spot on the team. I’m really interested and excited to see how he continues to improve.”
McGrady, a seven-time NBA All-Star, began training for his inevitable professional baseball debut months ago and even enlisted the talents of should-be Hall of Fame hurler (and one-time Skeeters pitcher) Roger Clemens.
“I’m a visual learner,” McGrady said. “When I see Roger Clemens right before my eyes on the mound going through his mechanics, he’s talking to me about the process. I soak that stuff in, whether it’s the consistency in your mechanics or how to hold the baseball when throwing certain pitches. At that time, I’m a student learning from my teacher.”
If the Skeeters reported plans are any indication, it’s a pretty safe bet that the team already has its mind made up as to whether or not they’ll take a chance on McGrady.
The Skeeters, who in 2013 put together an all-time best Atlantic League record of 95-45, are already documenting the 34-year-old righty’s progress for what they hope will be fodder for a film.